Here I sit in Goucester, Massachusetts, with by brothers (from left) Fred and Brackley. We spent our ast two days in the US visiting them and their families in Gloucester. Brackley's wife, Happy, is from the area, and she and Brackley own a home there. Fred and his family were renting a cottage there for a week, so it was a perfect opportunity to get us all together, as we did last year too.
Here, on the left, is Fred and Heidi's daughter, Nora. Brackley and my cousin, Sally, ham it up with copies of my poetry book. Below are Ariana (Brackley's daughter) with Fred, Heidi, and their son Alex. Pixie makes a toast with Happy, and, below, a view of Rockport Harbor.
We drove to Boston's Logan airport last Saturday morning. Everyone who gave us directions claimed it was so easy that I couldn't possibly get lost...but, I managed. Fortunately, our GPS lady helped us find our way, and we dropped off the car without incident, and arrived home about 11PM.
Our house, and Chuy, had been well taken-care-of by our experienced house sitters from Boulder, CO, Mike and Christi.
They were able to stay for the day on Sunday, so we had a great chance to get to know them a little better. They retired early, live a simple, thrifty life, and travel all over the world house sitting for accommodations. They are actually thinking, at some point, of escaping Colorado winters by moving to Mexico, but they are undecided as to exactly where. This trip let them familiarize themselves with the Lake Chapala area, and they seemed to have had a good time.
Of course, when we returned, we had a large stack of mail and newspapers. I thought I'd highlight a few of the headlines in the Guadalajara Reporter to let you see what's been going on since we were gone.
MAJOR PARTIES SHARE SPOILS IN STATE ELECTIONS
It appears as thought the PRI party (who was the single party ruling Mexico from 1929 to 2000) is regaining ground from President Calderon's PAN party. They won 9 of 12 state governorships up for election. Yet, the three governorships they lost, in Sinaloa, Oaxaca, and Puebla, were as a result of an unlikely political coalition between the right wing PAN party and the ultra left PRD parts. Everyone here is waiting to see who will win the 2012 presidential election. There is speculation that whoever wins will establish a new approach to the drug cartels which have caused so much violence since 2006, when Calderon was elected. Presidents in Mexico are limited to one six-year term.
MONEY EXCHANGE LIMITS NOW IN PLACE
This is an interesting new policy designed to make it more difficult for the drug cartels to launder money. By placing a maximum of $4000 USD on money changing into pesos each month, authorities hope to reduce the ability of the drug cartels to bring large amounts of US cash into Mexico. Last year, according to the article, 29 billion dollars were "laundered" in Mexico.
SECURITY ALERT: US CONSULATE ISSUES LOCAL ADVISORY: LONGTIME EXPATRIATE RESIDENTS SAY THE TONE OF THE MESSAGE DOES NOT REFLECT THE REALITY ON THE STREETS
The US consulate in Guadalajara issued a warning to US citizens living in the four-state area of Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit, and Aguascalientes, that drug-related violence has been on the rise near Guadalajara and in Tepic, Nayarit. The advisory recommends being aware of one's surroundings and moving away from any perceived disturbances, should one happen to witness something going on. The article goes on to include comments of longtime residents who believe that the advisory was an over reaction and that they feel more safe walking around the streets in Mexico than in many US cities.
STATE HEALTH CHIEF UNMOVED BY DENGUE FEVER SPIKE
The prolific rains during July have spiked the number of reported cases of Dengue Fever from 253, last year at this time, to 640 so far this season. Although the vast majority of these cases appear on the coast of Jalisco, there have been cases near here. The health officer in Jalisco suggests that the warnings issued for each rainy season, already in place, are sufficient this year as well. Preventive measures, such as spraying for mosquitis and warning residents to use mosquito repellent, are the best ways to fight the disease. Dengue Fever is usually a flu-like disease, but far fewer cases are the more dangerous hemorrhagic type.
One thing we are hearing from friends who have traveled to the border recently, is that police officers are stopping and harassing more Americans near the border areas as a direct retaliation for the anger generated by the Arizona immigration law. Feelings are very strong here that the law is unfair and racist. We can expect there to be some repercussions.
So, as you can see, there are always concerns and challenges living in a foreign country, especially when that country is facing a weak economy, mass deportations from the US, and a government trying very hard to wipe out drug violence. Luckily, things are calm and normal here at lakeside. and we are happy to be home.
One last photo: We bought Chuy a stuffed lobster as a gift. He is enjoying his new toy!